Sometimes change is a good thing—especially with proper hindsight and context. Before I give you what has to be one of the most "glowing" reports we’ve gotten from The Asset, I’d like to point out that we’re anything but cheerleaders here at Barking Carnival. We’ll discuss the warts and the failures of the Texas program just as fast as we herald the successes. To that point, if you would humor me and revisit the article we wrote about a year ago, before any coaching changes or firings had taken place, I think you'll see my point. I ask that you note the vibe of last year's piece while you’re reading the Kool-Aid that is the practice report below. In other words, what a difference a year makes. I know I'm much happier about the direction of the program. What about you?
As for this week’s practice so far, The Asset tells us that workouts have been the most physical they’ve been all season long on both sides of the ball.
Asset: It’s a whole new atmosphere. People are flying around and smacking each other around. Everyone’s playing really hard and most hits are loud and violent.
JS: So what has changed?
Asset: I think it’s a function of the dead weight being unloaded slowly but surely. The message is that if you don’t come to Texas to compete every day, we’re going to ask you to hit the road and with our ability to recruit, we’ll find someone just as talented that will compete. Kids are being shown the door and that hasn't happened in the past. It's a different vibe.
JS: As for specific players, who stood out to you in the workouts good and bad?
Asset: Desmond had a great day today--no one stopped him. Walters really had his hands full. Tank Jackson looks like a kid ready to take the next step. He can be special. Snow also did pretty well and looks to be taking this game very seriously. He wants to go out a winner and is being vocal about it. Cochran is looking better and better with each rep and he’s not so much of a focal point for Searels. You can tell Coachran has earned his trust.
JS: Anyone else?
Asset: At QB Ash is getting more reps so far, and in live action they seem to be giving David more waggles and rollouts. It’s more simplified and the kid has responded really well. The coaches are pleased with how he’s performing and you can see the confidence he had earlier in the season start to come back. It’s funny because Coach Harsin is all up in his REDACTED which is a good sign. He wasn't coaching David as hard down the stretch because David had lost so much confidence, so it’s good to see Coach Harse chewing on Ash again. Shipley being healthy has also helped Ash. They're developing a rapport with one another. "
JS: And the other QB’s?
Asset: McCoy isn’t doing as well as Ash, but you know the story there. McCoy has more confidence than Ash and that gets him in trouble sometimes in practice because he forces things. Both should play against Cal.
JS: And the running backs? How do they look?
Asset: Joe went full pads with no contact, Malcolm took minimal snaps. Not much Wildcat so that tells me that Malcolm is the guy when he gets 100%. They both should be good to go and full speed by game day.
JS: I’ve heard that before. Ha!
Asset: Yep, sorry. Sometimes these guys look a lot better in Friday practice and tweak something in game warm-ups or just don't want to aggravate an injury that's close to being fully healed. With that said, the staff has really protected these kids and that shouldn’t go unnoticed. A lot of coaches would have run Malcolm and Joe out at 80% to try to pad their record, but this staff has big plans for these two. No need to risk permanent injury.
JS: No, I get it. Our readers appreciate it and 99% are intelligent enough to understand that information changes. They love your stuff, so keep it coming. Moving on ... what about the wideouts? You mentioned Shipley being healthy. What about the rest of the group?
Asset: Shipley looks like he did prior to the injury and that’s helped all the QB’s. We are excited about Mike Davis this week. He’s played great. Mike had another good day today, so maybe Darius was rubbing off on him. By the way, that Cobbs stuff was pretty cool and seems to epitomize the change in attitude of this team. The guys are young, and they’re all buying in. Demarco’s reaction personified that and the guys are rallying around that mentality. Credit the coaches here too -- the entitlement is out the window. You’re either all-in or you’re out. A guy like Cobbs is all-in.
JS: Great stuff. So how about TE’s?
Asset: It sounds funny, but Whaley may get some TE run in this game. Nothing gimmicky, just to get Ash some easier looks on boots and rolls in certain packages--nothing permanent, though, Whaley is a DT. But, Whaley has good hands so they'll have some fun with it apparently. It's a bowl game. This also may put all the TE’s on notice, but I don’t know at this point. For now, it’s just a wrinkle I think.
JS: Interesting. What about the defense?
Asset: Defense is pretty much the same. Demarco is getting more reps but overall it’s a standard rotation. That said, and I can’t emphasize it enough, but this group has been very very physical the last couple days of practice. Just evil hits left and right. Maybe that’s why they chose to hold Brown and Bergeron out. These guys are putting some licks on guys. The defensive backs are looking good and healthy. The defensive line is about the same in terms of rotation. Dez Jackson was the standout, but they all looked pretty solid and seem to be winning most battles.
JS: Overall, what are your thoughts on things so far in bowl workouts?
Asset: Chemistry is upbeat and the kids are having fun but also all business if that makes sense. Maybe it's just me, but I think it has to do with some of the more lethargic types leaving in the last few days, as well as others who seem to have one foot out the door and aren’t out there stealing reps. Overall, it’s definitely a unique vibe out there. Fun and violent would be the two words I’d use to describe it so far. But check back with me later and I’ll let you know if that changes.
JS: We will. Thanks.